TWO NORTH EAST
Diss 52 Holt 0
Dave Smith marked his first competitive home game as head coach at Diss RFC with a dominant 52-0 victory against rivals Holt at the weekend.
Smith, who has been the backs coach at Mackenders since 2014, took over as head coach following the departure of Roger Coombs at the end of last season.
Shortly after his appointment in May, Smith told the Express he had his sights set on promotion for Diss in his first season in charge.
And after his side’s impressive display on Saturday, which saw them rack up more than 50 points as they whitewashed local rivals Holt, it is hard to argue against the promotion credentials of Smith’s charges this season.
After a keenly-contested opening 10 minutes at Mackenders, Diss found a breakthrough when Phillip Lelievre scored the first try, which was converted by Sean McClure.
Buoyed by their early score, the home side began to stamp their authority on the contest and in the 20th minute extended their lead.
An infringement by Holt at a Diss attacking ruck set up a penalty 45 metres out, with McClure successful with the kick from long range.
At this point Holt were holding on, but three tries in the last 13 minutes of the first-half handed Diss a big advantage at the break.
The first of those three tries came on 27 minutes when a well-worked move saw Chris Beaird cross the line in the right corner.
McClure converted the try to make it 17-0 to the hosts, before scrum-half Alex Leeder enjoyed a sniping break to get on the scoresheet just two minutes later.
Again McClure was up to the task with the conversion, as Diss continued to keep the scoreboard ticking and stretched their lead to 24-0.
Holt were struggling to retain the ball in the scrummage, while Diss found particular success in the lineout, and on the stroke of half-time the hosts scored their fourth try of the afternoon to bring up the bonus point.
A surging run from Giles West put Diss virtually out of sight heading into the interval, despite McClure missing the conversion moments later.
If Holt were to stand any chance of producing a comeback they needed to put some points on the board early in the second-half.
However, it was Diss who kept up their relentless assault on the scoreboard, with two penalties in front of the posts for McClure, taking the home side into a 35-0 lead on 52 minutes.
Holt appeared to be close to breaching their hosts for the first time three minutes later, but a timely interception presented West with an inviting, but lengthy, run towards the try line.
The Diss right winger ran 60 metres while under hot pursuit before diving over the line to bring up his second try and increase his side’s lead to 40-0. McClure missed the conversion, but Diss were still well on top and on 68 minutes they scored what would be the try of the day when Lelievre finished off a crisp, passing move.
Five minutes later Diss had a seventh try. Holt were caught napping by a quick penalty, which culminated with Steve Hipwell racing through for a solo try.
McClure found his range again to convert the try, before the Diss fly-half received a yellow card for a high tackle in the final minute.
The win keeps Diss at the top of the London League Two North East table, with Smith’s charges having picked up the maximum 15 points from their opening three games.
Smith reflected: “Everyone did what they had to do, and if anything I didn’t expect that scoreline.
“We did the things on Saturday which we do at training on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I was really impressed.”
Diss are back on the road this weekend as they prepare to visit Romford and Gidea Park tomorrow (3pm).
Romford (seventh) have started their season with one win and two defeats, with their sole victory so far coming against Campion (36-22) a fortnight ago.
This will be another intriguing test for Diss, as Romford recorded a 25-22 victory when the two sides last met at Crowlands in March.
Diss RFC: Richards, Hudson, Latu, Abercrombie, Jacobs, Laurie, Fuller, Hipwell, Leeder, McClure, Lelievre, Hall (c), Pask, West, Beaird. Replacements: Passmore, Page, Trede.
Referee: J Pidding (Hertfordshire)